MairDumont launches into UK

German travel publisher MairDumont is to launch into the English-language market, with a new subsidiary to be based in the UK.

Former GeoCenter International sales and marketing director Ian MacDonald is to head the branch, named Marco Polo Travel Publishing. MPTP will take over distribution of venerable travel guides Baedeker in the UK and international English-language territories, and will launch an extensive range of European and world cartography under the Marco Polo brand. The company will be based in Basingstoke, and MacDonald is looking to hire eight to 10 people.

MacDonald said: “We think Marco Polo is a terrific brand—they are market leaders in Germany . . . Everyone knows who Marco Polo is, knows [the name] means travel. We think people will get the brand very quickly...[Baedeker is] one of the oldest brand names in travel publishing, a good international name. These are very cultural titles.”

He said the list will expand, with the current 40-strong Baedeker list to increase to 60 titles. Sixty Marco Polo maps will be released this year, with translated covers. MPTP is also looking to link up with other similar publishers, offering sales and distribution.

On the travel market, MacDonald added: “Travel guide sales have declined by about 10% in value over the past 12 months...Over the last 10 years, things like 9/11 had an effect on US market, [as did] unrest in different parts of the world. But it’s amazing how these markets come back. Travel is very resilient. I’ve never yet walked into an empty airport.”

The company is looking to expand into digital content once “established” in print.